Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Yellow Brick Road Quilt Along--Introduction

If you're new here, welcome! I'll be teaching a quilt along and ongoing sewing group at my Church.  We'll be meeting the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:00pm, starting June 28. I'm so excited to get this group up and running! We'll be making the Yellow Brick Road quilt by Atkinson Designs:

This is a fun, easy, great beginner quilt! It's also perfect for those who are more experienced! This is the first quilt I ever made. Well, the first I finished anyway--I started a quilt before this one without any pattern or plan, and, not surprisingly, it still isn't finished, 10 years later! Here's the baby size quilt I made for my son Ben:




And here is my sister Amanda's first quilt--she pieced the top, and I quilted & bound it for her:


This quilt-along will be easy, slow-paced, and have no pressure! Feel free to join in any time, and don't worry if you miss a meeting. Our plan is to have fun, learn something new, and spend time getting to know each other better! I'll be explaining all the steps for making a quilt, and will post a recap here each month, so check back! If you have any questions about any of these posts, please ask in the comments. I will answer there, in case anyone else has the same question!

At our first meeting I am going to be discussing preparing your fabric, pressing, and cutting. Before we get to that, though, you need a pattern and fabric! I would like everyone to purchase their own pattern--the pattern writer worked hard to make this, and this is their livelihood. The pattern itself costs $8-$10. You can buy the pattern locally at Prairie Queens Quilt Shop in San Jose, or online in several places, including Fat Quarter Shop. This pattern has directions for 6 sizes, but I recommend doing either the Baby or Lap size for your first quilt. The goal for your first quilt is not to make a super difficult perfect quilt for your King-sized bed, but to learn how to do it and finish something! The baby size requires 6 different Fat Quarters, and the lap size requires 12.

The next step is fabric selection! This is my favorite part! This pattern uses Fat Quarters. You can usually find single pre-cut Fat Quarters (FQs) in quilt shops and online, as well as bundles of coordinating prints. If you find a fabric that you love on a bolt but the shop won't cut you a FQ, you will need to buy 1/2 yard, and save the other FQ for another project. The way the cutting and piecing directions work for this pattern, you really do have to use FQs. There is an amazing series on fabric selection and quilt design called The Art of Choosing on my friend Jeni's blog, In Color Order

I buy most of my fabric online. There are links to some great shops on Jeni's blog mentioned above, and I often find great prices on etsy.

The fabrics bought at most online shops are high-quality designer fabrics. Be sure to feel fabrics before you buy them at chain stores, though. You can get really good deals at chain stores like Jo-Ann, but some of their cheaper fabrics are very poor quality, which feel rough and have a very loose weave.  Speaking of chain stores, we have a Beverly'sHancock, and Jo-Ann very close by! You should pretty much never buy anything full-price at any of these stores. Sign up for their print & email newsletters, and they will send you sales ads and coupons every month. Everything goes on sale at these places, and they're always sending out 40% or 50% off coupons. Fabric usually costs around $9-$13 a yard, depending on where you get it. It's not exactly a cheap hobby, but if you look around different places and use coupons when you can, it's not too bad! Another thing I really recommend you buy, especially if you're pretty sure this quilting thing is something you're going to want to do often, is a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler (a 6" x 24" ruler is great to start with). You can get these at JoAnn for 50% off all the time. I'll have several available at our meetings if you're not ready to jump in that far yet!

(Photo from olfa.com)

That should have us all set to meet Thursday the 28th! Please bring your pattern & fabric, sewing machine, thread, and a snack or treat to share! 

I'd also like to mention that if you have a quilt you're already working on or already have planned, or any other sort of sewing type thing you'd like help or encouragement with, or just want to bring your mending and spend time with nice people who like sewing, you are more than welcome!